Time Travelling in Museo Sugbo
A day after my co-intern and I finished our duties in Cebu Daily News, we spent a day rewarding ourselves with art and history. Our first stop was supposed to be the Cebu City Public Library but unfortunately it was closed when we got there. So we went to our supposed to be second stop which is Museo Sugbo.
We didn’t have a tour guide during our visit so please bear with my descriptions and some facts that I’ve googled~teehee.
Museo Sugbo used to be the Carcel de Cebu or the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC). According to Cebu Tourism’s website, it is where criminals including the Katipuneros and some Japanese guerillas were detained way back in 1871. It was intended to be the main prison in Visayas, but the provincial government built a larger facility in a new location where the popular Cebu Dancing Inmates are detained.
Upon entering the museum, there were framed old photos of Cebu City. It was interesting to see how the places we’ve frequented during our stay, looked like several years ago. The General Maxilom Street or more commonly known as the Mango Avenue used to have a lot of mango trees, hence the name. It must have felt cool to drive through that street in a vintage convertible. It must feel like driving through your own estate haha!
There are several galleries inside the museum complex and they’re arranged chronologically. The first gallery we went to was full of relics by the people who inhabited the island of Cebu a thousand years ago. There was this certain gold statue of a god, sets of gold plated teeth, a wooden casket used to send away dead loved ones to the sea, and some other interesting stuff were well preserved in the gallery.
The next gallery housed documents and artifacts dating back to the time when Ferdinand Magellan and his ~squad~ (haha) came to the island. Another gallery featured Cebu’s prominent leaders like Vicente Rama, Sergio Osmeña, and others. Their documents, newspaper features, some personal belongings, and photographs were preserved in glass boxes.
In the next gallery, objects dating back to the time when Japanese soldiers occupied some parts of the island were displayed. Stacks of guerilla money, bayonets, bullets, guns, to name a few were preserved. It was interesting to see all these stacks of five, ten, twenty centavos in paper.
The CJJ Media Gallery was quite interesting too because we saw vintage radios, cameras, and copies of Cebu’s newspapers such as Cebu Daily News, The Freeman, and some other newspapers that have titles that sounded similar to La Solidaridad.
There was this certain gallery that gave me the heebie jeebies. It was a rich lady’s (whose name I couldn’t remember anymore) collection of religious statues. There were wooden heads of the 12 Apostles, wooden figures of Jesus, His Mother, and some saints. There were teeny tiny and huge versions of it everywhere in the room. What freaked me out even more was there were sets of wooden hands in glass cases! The security guard told us that some statues have detachable arms so it won’t be difficult to clothe them.
We were supposed to go inside two more galleries but we chose not to anymore since the heat was already unbearable. It was a bad idea to visit the place during noon time. We wrapped up our visit by taking photos under the trees.
If you want to get to know the island of Cebu more, visiting Museo Sugbo is a good place to start. The relics and artifacts are well preserved. We paid an entrance fee of 20 Pesos since we showed the cashier our school ID. I’m not sure how much it would cost non-students and adults though. It’s also best to ride a taxi and check on Google Maps if you’re not sure what jeepney to ride going to M.J Cuenco.
Museo Sugbo is located in M.J Cuenco Avenue, Cebu City